A new Pilot Light program connecting students to foods’ origins and their roles in the food system.

The Program:

Agriculture Education and Advocacy is a new Pilot Light program designed in partnership with the USDA. AgEd & Advocacy is a 7-lesson program for PreK-12 teachers developed through a generous grant from NIFA (USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture) Food and Agriculture Service Learning Program. AgEd & Advocacy connects students to the origins of their food (agriculture) and empowers them to explore agricultural career options. 

The Goal:

Through AgEd & Advocacy, we partner with educators to engage students in learning about where their food comes from and how to be informed advocates in their own food systems. 

Pilot Light supports implementation of the AgEd & Advocacy lessons through:

  • teacher workshops,
  • professional development sessions, and
  • community partnership development support.

Read more about Pilot Light’s teacher-centered Food Education model here.

The History:

2021: The USDA awarded Pilot Light a Farm to School turnkey grant funding new Food Education materials including lessons and educational videos featuring local farmers. 

2022: NIFA awarded Pilot Light a two-year research grant funding the launch of AgEd & Advocacy in Chicago Public Schools. Five middle school science educators participated. 

2023: AgEd & Advocacy teachers participated in professional development sessions and collaborated with Pilot Light to develop additional teaching materials and practices. Over 200 students have participated in AgEd & Advocacy to date. 

We look forward to developing the future of this program in 2024! If you are interested in learning more about AgEd & Advocacy, sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest updates. 

In the meantime, explore our Community Advocacy lessons on our Food Education Center website to discover engaging ways to integrate advocacy projects into your classroom! 

The Model: 

The AgEd & Advocacy lessons are aligned to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Pilot Light’s Food Education Standards. Together, they promote a comprehensive understanding of agriculture. These lessons culminate in Student Advocacy Projects which amplify youth voices in food systems advocacy.

The Impact: 

Pilot Light is currently conducting a formal review and evaluation of the AgEd & Advocacy program. We will use the results of this review to inform the next phase of Agriculture Education programming. Furthermore, we are excited to share the results with our community in summer 2024! Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest updates about all of our programs, resources, and events directly to your inbox. 

The Pillars:

The Agriculture Education & Advocacy program has been designed around 4 Pillars of AgEd & Advocacy: Food Education, Growth for All, Environmental Action, and Common Ground. Click on each pillar below to learn more! 

Agriculture is a defining facet of our food systems. It promotes informed decision making for healthy futures.

Agriculture is a changing industry ripe for innovation with a wide range of careers. These opportunities provide economic pathways for individuals and communities.

Agriculture is both a cause and a solution for climate change that requires social, scientific, and community driven action.

Agriculture is an entry point for thinkers of all backgrounds. This rich diversity of possibility allows people to come together and bridge urban and rural divides.

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